News Archives - Thompson Industrial Services

Thompson Introduces Automated Tank Cleaning

March 25, 2021

Here at Thompson Industrial Services, we have made yet another step along the way toward our goal of becoming 100% automated. The newest service area to benefit from our decades of research into automated, remotely controlled technologies is tank cleaning, a very challenging area that has always posed significant difficulties to service providers like us. As you will see, through the development of several different advanced tools we have increased the speed, efficiency, and most importantly the safety of our tank cleaning activities.

ROV/ROC Technology

The most striking element of our automated tank cleaning service is the use of a remote operated vehicle (ROV) or remote operated crawler (ROC) to carry and manipulate the hydroblasting equipment that strips off deposits, sludge, and even rubber linings from the interior of our clients’ tanks. Our ROV requires a manway just 24 inches wide for access, and it is mounted with a vertically adjustable water cannon capable of washing the roof, walls, and floor of the vessel with remote adjustments made by operators.

The ROC, which can be seen in action in the demo videos on our website, is a crawler designed to strip the toughest of debris deposits and sludge from interior and exterior surfaces. This includes vessel walls as well as pipes that have years’ worth or many layers of debris that must be removed.

Manway Cannon and Tank Sweep

These two tools give Thompson Industrial Services’ automated tank cleaning teams additional ability to address more specific challenges with maximum efficiency and safety. Our camera manway cannon enters a tank and liquefies sludge in preparation for removal, all while keeping the tank sealed. This eliminates not only the need to send a human technician inside the tank, but also the need for vapor recovery measures and associated disposal costs.

The tank sweep is another non-entry application, focused on tanks with high solid levels. The extreme efficiency of this cleaning method saves our clients money through reduction of waste products and minimized downtime for cleaning projects. It also recovers higher hydrocarbon levels than traditional methods, making it better for the environment.

Our ROC quickly and safely strips debris from surfaces.

Solids-Separation Services

This component of our automated tank cleaning service adds even more cost savings, safety, and minimized environmental impact to your project. Depending on the waste removed from the tank, we use a two-stage or three-stage centrifuge process to separate liquids and solids (two-stage) or oil, water, and solids (three-stage). This step, handled by our expert teams, enables recovery of oil and streamlines the disposal of solids as much as possible.

Varied Applications

As with so many of the applications at Thompson Industrial Services, our automated tank cleaning benefits clients in many different fields. We have longstanding, powerful partnerships with clients in the pulp & paper, oil & gas, petrochemical, and chemical industries among many others, as plant managers have learned that they can trust the teams from their regional TIS office to conduct every project with safety, integrity, creativity, and efficiency. Our automated approach to tank cleaning and hydroblasting of other equipment has changed the way the industry thinks about outages, downtime, and what to expect from an industrial services provider.

Continued Commitment to Automation

We at Thompson are very excited about what our automated tank cleaning service represents–a continuation of our decades-long commitment to make all of our services as efficient and safe as possible by using remotely controlled equipment whenever possible, rather than placing human technicians with manual equipment in the same application. This push is a large part of what made 2020 our company’s safest year ever, and we aim to continue automating more services as technology advances.

As powerful as any technology is, however, it is only as effective as the humans that use it. Our automated solutions are supported by our outage management teams (OMTs), who use their decades of on-the-ground experience and training to plan our clients’ outages in great detail. This human expertise takes our automated tools to their fullest potential, giving our clients the shortest downtimes, cleanest equipment, and overall best results they have ever seen.

Get in touch with your nearest Thompson Industrial Services regional office to learn more about the benefits of automated tank cleaning for your site.

A Job Well Done in Our Hometown

March 10, 2021

The City of Sumter, SC recently needed to remove to nearly 1000 cubic yards of sediment/debris/sludge from the bottom of a large aeration basin at their waste water treatment plant. It would take 2 weeks of vacuuming the dense sediment from the bottom of the basin and moving it to drying beds on site. The work was further complicated by the presence of 50 rows of aeration piping/apparatus that presented a “maze” at the bottom of the basin that had to be worked around and protected.  

The crew led by Boston Pearson, including Elijah Bradley, Chris Bradley, Theo Wells, and Clifford Workman did an incredible job. They worked diligently over the course of the project, in inclement weather conditions and completed the project in 15 days, which given the nature of the work and the weather, speaks volumes of their combined effort. 

The City representative was very happy with our work which should help us to be awarded the additional basins onsite that will need to be done over the next 1-2 years. Congrats to the whole division 33 team for a job well done.

Thompson Removes 50+ Years of Dust in Texas

March 10, 2021

Recently, our Houston, TX division completed an extremely challenging and successful Combustible Dust Remediation project at a facility within a refining plant.  The demolition of a large warehouse and adjoining extruder building had already been awarded to a large demo contractor, but their proposed process to remediate the combustible dust was the traditional use of scaffolding the entire warehouse and using HVACS.  The scaffolding estimate alone was already north of $300K. 

Thompson Removes 50+ Years of Dust in Texas

Thompson proposed our DEFA (Dust Encapsulating Foaming Agent) foaming process as a safer and more effective alternative, and were awarded the job. The customer was extremely impressed with the results and Thompson’s overall service. (See the impressive before and after results above and below.) In fact, their Remediation Project Coordinator was at first skeptical of this method, but upon the successful completion of the project, is now a huge advocate of our DEFA foaming process. He wrote us to say, “Congratulations on successfully abating the 50+ years of SMA dust that accumulated in the Warehouse and Extruder Area.” Congratulations on a job well done by the whole team!

Thompson Removes 50+ Years of Dust in Texas

LET – Leadership Engagement Training

The Southeast Region hosted two, LET sessions in February.  In total, 33 existing and/or future, Southeast, leaders attended.  The main drive of the sessions was to invest in our leaders so they will be fully engaged with their teams. Productivity, retention, and customer satisfaction all improve when teammates are fully engaged, and the path to teammate engagement is always through their team leaders.  Topics covered in the sessions included safety focus, waterblast automation, equipment operation, equipment maintenance, and electronic timesheets.  Both classroom and field instruction was included.  All our leaders were extremely engaged and excited to bring back what they learned to those they lead. Special thanks to all who led the sessions. 

Let’s keep passing on what we learn this year! Find a mentor, be a mentor.

FINFOAM Succeeds with Pre-Heater Coils

March 5, 2021

One of the hallmarks of our company is that we constantly look for new ways to expand our services. For many years, we’ve been gradually increasing the scope of our automated methods, applying them in more and more contexts as we improve the technology and modify it for additional uses. FINFOAM is another service that is versatile enough to provide exceptional results in a variety of applications, and recently one of our teams demonstrated that fact in a powerful way at a power generation client’s facility.

A Revelation for Air-Cooled Heat Exchangers

FINFOAM is certainly not a new concept for clients of Thompson Industrial Services. We have been using this proprietary technology to clean air-cooled heat exchangers and fin fans for quite a few years now, and our use of it increases throughout our service area as more site managers see the efficiency, environmental safety, and speed that it is capable of. 

Our unique approach uses a foaming agent that is completely safe for the environment, yet penetrates deeply into the system and captures dust, dirt, and other particles that negatively impact its efficiency. Once the contaminants are captured, a simple rinse removes them from the unit–all without risking damage to even the most delicate components.

Before and after images of the preheating coils 

Expanding Application

During the second half of 2020, one of our Thompson Industrial Services teams was engaged to provide cleaning for pre-heater coils at a power plant. The team took the opportunity to put our flexible FINFOAM application to work in a fairly new context for this project, supported by plenty of project planning, testing, and research to ensure that this was the best, most efficient, and safest route to success. 

We often find that photographs tell the story best in a case like this, so within this blogpost you’ll find the before-and-after examples to show just how effective the FINFOAM method was in removing contaminants on the system. The difference is striking, and we think it shows clearly just how thoroughly this unique cleaning application accomplishes the task at hand.

High Client Satisfaction

It’s always very gratifying to us when we hear positive feedback from our clients after leaving the job site. This project was a good example; the photos in this blogpost were sent to us by the client to illustrate the great job that our team had done. The client was looking forward to running tests on the newly cleaned air preheater system and finding out exactly how much our service would save them in efficiency and power.


The client’s note to us mentioned more than the technical success of the project, however. In a theme that is consistent across our client feedback, this manager made special note of how enjoyable it was to work with our people. The Thompson team set themselves apart with their level of knowledge, their absolute commitment to safety protocols, and their efforts to ensure that the job was completed to our own high standards. Best of all, the client assured us that they would be referring us to the other power plants in the system based on the success of this project!

Always Improving and Expanding

We are always excited when we are able to expand a great service like FINFOAM into a new application. We are already making efforts to take on more jobs like this one, increasing our partnerships in the power generation industry. Combined with our other powerful services tailored for success in this challenging sector, FINFOAM helps us deliver on our promises to provide the fastest, safest, and most effective industrial services possible.


Of course, our FINFOAM service continues to gain a reputation in its original application, cleaning air-cooled heat exchangers. In recent years we have applied our automated solutions to the service, accelerating the timeline of standard projects and also making it possible for us to tackle exceptionally difficult or hazardous projects without jeopardizing the safety of our team members.


If you are a manager in the power generation field, we would love to tell you more about these services, from pneumatic vacuum excavation with zero environmental contamination to automated hydro-cutting services that operate quickly and precisely in highly hazardous environments. Contact us today!

Innovative HRSG Cleaning could save you $600,000 or more per year

Heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) cleaning is an effective way to restore lost performance because it reduces the back-pressure on the gas turbine, thereby increasing the net power output or reducing cost of fuel per megawatt generation. Every additional half inch (water column) of pressure drop through a typical F-class HRSG cleaning reduces the bottom line by about $100,000 per annum, depending on the price of fuel. An effective cleaning on a fouled HRSG cleaning could be expected to regain at least 3-6 inches of pressure drop.

Dirty HRSG tubes penalize plant performance in several ways. Fouling of the gas-side HRSG tubes increases a plant’s heat rate by reducing the heat transfer and increasing the back-pressure of the gas turbine. Reduced heat transfer efficiency also reduces the output of the steam turbine, and excessively fouled HRSGs cleaning can exceed their designated back-pressure limit, triggering an expensive and automatic “turbine trip” or curtail otherwise available generation capacity.

Read More…

HRSG Cleaning with EPIC(™) Technology: A Safe, Proven Cost-Effective Solution

Maximize HRSG Efficiency & Performance While Cutting Operating Costs

When you want to ensure your HRSG unit is running efficiently, it occasionally needs to be off-line cleaned professionally and thoroughly. An exceptionally effective and safe technique incorporates targeted pressure wave impulse technology applied at Mach- 5 speed utilizing EPIC (Extraction Pressure Impulse Cleaner) technology.

This patented process has been developed and perfected for HRSGs after 14 years of success and experience with it’s on-line counterpart, including on HRSGs and up to 900 Mw boilers. EPIC’s technology and its unique remote-controlled navigation positioning equipment directly focuses localized energy into the finned tube bundles to ensure its deep, penetrating and 360 degree effectiveness reaches and cleans all the crucial heat transfer surfaces without superfluous indiscriminate blasting or explosions to non-essential components or structures.

When the EPIC process is utilized for your HRSG cleaning needs, you’ll be rewarded with reduced CT back pressure, fuel costs and exit stack temperatures as well as overall increased efficiency, and much more.

Not Optimizing HRSGs’ Performance Can Be Costly

When your plant’s HRSG unit is effectively cleaned, it will restore performance that was previously lost because insulating deposits increased the CT backpressure (thus output) and increased fuel consumption. This backpressure is most frequently the result of deposits that gradually build up and affix themselves to the close-tolerance finned tubes during HRSG operation, which is standard, particularly after 5-15 years of operation. Oftentimes, DP recovery can be 3-6”, which can yield a payback in 2-4 months of operation. However, without proper cleaning, HRSG units can experience increased back pressure resulting in the overall heat rate worsening and loss of efficiency, which may even cause de-rating in peak demand periods.

Factors Leading to High Operating Costs

  • Lack of optimum cleanliness of crucial heat transfer surfaces
  • Increased CT back pressure/decreased generation because of excessive deposits
  • Lower feedwater exit temperatures necessitating additional fuel to compensate for same
  • Wasting Btu’s going up the stack rather efficient convection-transfer to the ID of tubes
  • Requiring excessively more outage duration to attempt cleaning by other methods rather than getting back on-line quicker
  • Increased fuel costs due to otherwise unnecessary use of duct burners or excessive firing
  • Due to the expense of certain other methods, cleaning intervals may be excessively delayed and/or less than the optimum quantity of harp bundles are cleaned during a project

EPIC Cleaning System

The Extraction Pressure Impulse Cleaner is a state-of-the-art cleaning technology invented and patented by PowerPlus Cleaning Systems with Thompson Industrial Services as the exclusive provider of the service. The technology is based on a process originally patented by GE (but now owned by PowerPlus Cleaning Systems) and is used for off-line cleaning of HRSG units. This system has passed the test of time for both on-line boiler-cleaning— with nearly 14 years of use— and off-line cleaning in more recent times.

EPIC Overview

The EPIC pressure wave system was designed to improve current HRSG cleaning methods and do so safely and quite effectively without damage or stretching to any combined cycle components. Although various HRSG cleaning systems exist, all had their flaws, and none can now reach the same standards and controls set by EPIC. This proprietary technology removes deposits that have built up and are lodged deep into the harp’s finned tube bundles.

How EPIC Works

The EPIC system incorporates a special device called IMPULSE(R) (internationally patented), to deliver high-pressure (<40 PSI) cleaning pulses focused and targeted circumferentially to just the troublesome heat transfer surfaces. Essentially, the system uses air shockwaves that penetrate the tube banks to dislodge (i.e. “extract”) foreign deposits. The overall cleaning system is remotely controlled by a navigation system outside of the HRSG unit in Thompson’s mobile command center. The personnel navigating the cleaning system can maneuver the system in nearly all directions to avoid obstructions, and place the system in the correct spot to clean the finned tubes and free them of the insulating deposits.


The Benefits of Using EPIC

  • Deep, thorough 360-degree cleaning of the critical tubes and fins
  • Zero damage done on any parts, components, welds, expansion joints or instruments
  • No shock or superfluous, indiscriminate blast impact to the rest of the HRSG unit
  • Highly technologically advanced; 6 camera views from command center; remote bundle differential pressure monitoring; multiple fail-safe features; borescope videoing before and after and more
  • Personnel are totally remote from the operating system
  • No scaffolding required
  • Reduced downtime for cleaning
  • Reduced combustion turbine back pressure
  • Improved heat transfer efficiency/decrease stack temperature
  • Overall financial gain
  • Optional drone inspections of HRSG and SCR

Case Study

A case study performed at a large combined cycle plant in Florida examined the benefits of EPIC technology on a Nooter/Eriksen HRSG unit. What the study found was astonishing. After a thorough cleaning with the EPIC technology, the HRSG unit experienced a decrease in CT backpressure by 4 inches of the water column. This correlated to a decrease in heat rate by 0.5 MMBtu/MWh. These impressive results yielded a payback in 1,000 full-load hours in payback, which equated to roughly $600,000 per year in this instance.


Every business in every industry should be planning for the future. To do so, they must all look to the newest technology, so they can compete and excel. For combined cycle plants, that means looking towards EPIC technology. With proven results, EPIC technology offers everything a combined cycle plant could target for; improved cleaning, safety, decreased downtime, zero damage, and an optimized HRSG unit.

If you want to improve the efficiency of your HRSG unit while saving money, request a consultation with Thompson Industrial Services to find out more about implementing Thompson’s EPIC technology and service at your plant.

Press Releases

GBRIA 2020 Safety Excellence Awards

Thompson Industrial Services Appointed Third Place Award Winner

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, August 17, 2020

 “A Safety Milestone We Are Very Proud Of!”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance appointed winners of the 24th Annual Safety Awards. Thompson Industrial Services was awarded for General Construction & Maintenance, Division I.

GBRIA 2020 Safety Excellence Awards

The prestigious recognition by the GBRIA is something regional industries strive to obtain. A company must maintain a work environment that surpasses others with a recording of less than 1.0 for the past 16 years. Thompson Industrial not only meets these qualifications but exceeds OSHA standards and the best safety practices which are industry-specific.

Safety Through Automation

The stringent safety practices include the use of automation to ensure the safety of employees. Thompson is quickly approaching 100%-Hands-Free Automation capability.


As innovation and technology advances, we evolve with equipment, training, and safety that’s in line with those advancements. The use of remote control equipment enables us to reach areas that are otherwise dangerous or inaccessible. By doing so, cleaning is done quickly and in a much more thorough manner. Through our automation, you benefit by reducing your downtime and the expense that quickly racks up from manual labor.


  • Removes the dangers of water-related injuries that can occur with manually operated cleaning equipment.
  • It also protects the integrity of surfaces hydro blasting comes into contact with.
  • Cuts cleaning time in half and reduces required manpower.
  • It provides an option for cutting concrete or steel.
  • Eliminates the need for confined space entry permits.

High Standards of Safety

The safety practices Thompson Industrial has in place are higher than most regional industries. This is to ensure the safety of every person under the employ of Thompson. Safety goals and procedures are developed and enforced through specialized training and accountability.


  • Regular audits are done through data analysis. The valuable feedback through the data audits points out areas of success as well as those needing improvement.
  • To avoid complacency and promote safety awareness, behavior mitigation is in place to protect employees.
  • Customized checklists are developed for each site/task to further enforce safety measures.
  • Yearly safety trends are reviewed regularly to compare with current trends.

Thompson Industrial Services

Thompson Industrial Services, LLC, was founded in 1986. Sumter, South Carolina is where headquarters calls home. Service locations are scattered throughout the U.S. As a single-source industrial service, Thompson serves all phases of industrial cleaning.


Industrial services Thompson specializes in includes hydro blasting, vacuuming, chemical cleaning, pre-commission cleaning, hydro- and pneumatic-vacuum excavation, and decommissioning. Our specialties don’t end here because we also do combustible dust remediation, FINFOAM(R) cleaning of air-cooled heat exchangers, HRSG cleaning, dry ice blasting, tank cleaning, industrial drone inspection, and COVID-19 disinfecting.

The “Thompson” Culture

Here at Thompson Industrial Services, you are met with old-fashioned hospitality and values with safety that is state of the art. We don’t compromise on friendliness, customer service, quality, or safety. You get the very best when you hire us.


If you would like more information about our services or need a quote, we have someone available to take your call. We look forward to being the industrial cleaning service that will surpass your expectations! Contact us today!


Thompson Helps Employees Return to Work Safely During COVID-19 Pandemic

As businesses begin reopening their doors, they must take every precaution to ensure their employees’ safety and well being. Recently, our disinfecting team cleaned several large facilities before they brought their employees back in. The customers were extremely happy with our response and execution.

“First, a big Thank You to one of our contracting partners, Thompson Industrial, for their rapid response in disinfecting the entire facility, making it not only safe but likely the cleanest place you can possible be in right now. They used a combination of fogging and direct spraying over several hours today to disinfect the entire building”

“Thanks so much. The services were nothing short of professional and thorough. We appreciate your support. 😊 Will keep you posted on thoughts about the next application.  Appreciate it very much. You are a great partner and will gladly recommend you to our distillery colleagues.  Thanks again.”

“We are very happy with the service that they provided. Thanks again to the crew for the quick response to our needs.”

“The crew was very courteous and did an extremely thorough job.”

Thompson Surpasses 1 million hours worked without a recordable injury. 

This is a huge milestone for the company, and it comes as a result of everyone taking safety personally and focusing on SIF prevention. We want to congratulate all of our employees and client’s who worked together to achieve this milestone and send everyone home safely every single day.

Let us disinfect your small businesses, commercial & industrial buildings. Give us a call 803-934-0138
Please note, we do not disinfect single-family homes.